Twitter's own 'Y2K' problem

By John Bowman, CBCNews.ca

Back on Blog Watch a few months ago, I wrote about how Unix computer systems tell time by counting the number of seconds since midnight on Jan. 1, 1970, and how in 2038, that number will no longer fit into a 32-bit integer.

Well, Twitter is going to be hitting that limit a lot sooner than that.

Each post on Twitter is given a unique identifying number and Twitter is running out. Once Twitterers create more than 2,147,483,647 posts, Twitter will start giving them negative ID numbers: -1, -2, -3. And third-party apps will likely crash as a result.

According to Twitpocalypse.com, Twitter is quickly approaching 1.85 billion tweets. Martin Dufort and Fred Brunel of WhereCloud, the Montreal developers behind the site, told the Montreal Gazette that Twitter could hit the 32-bit limit sometime in June.

WhereCloud set up Twitpocalypse.com as a marketing campaign for its iPhone app, Reportage, which is still awaiting approval by Apple.